A federal appellate court panel will soon determine whether to reinstate a lawsuit by a former Nexstar Broadcasting employee who claims her firing was due to racial discrimination.
Initially, the panel, which met May 13 in St. Louis, was to hear oral arguments on whether a district court judge erred when he dismissed Lesa Davis' lawsuit against Nexstar and KARK-TV in Little Rock, Ark.
One week before the hearing, it was determined that no oral arguments would be held and the decision would be made based on the briefs filed by the opposing sides.
Ms. Davis was a production coordinator at KARK, creating graphics and backgrounds for news, weather, and sports, and other station functions, according to court documents.She had worked on the station's morning program since the 1980s and had been with the station since 1977. In August 2003, she was assigned to the nightshift, which interfered with her other job with UPS, which she had held for more than 25 years. She had to take a layoff from the company.
Ms. Davis claims that white employees who had been with KARK for far less time than she, were allowed to choose reassignment on a seniority basis. The U. S. District Court in Arkansas found in favor of Nexstar and dismissed the case on Sept. 30, 2004. Ms. Davis filed her appeal on Oct. 21. The appeal claims the U. S. District Court judge committed reversible error by "ignoring overwhelming disputes of material fact" that pointed toward intentional discrimination, by determining that her reassignment to the night shift was not discrimination, and by claiming there was "no genuine issue" for the racial discrimination claim.
Nexstar Broadcasting owns KSNF in Joplin and is the de facto owner of KODE.